IN THIS ISSUE:

 

 

 

PLUS:

 

 

 

Welcome to our fifth 2009 edition of our e-newsletter, RESOURCES. We are excited to produce this exciting forum for the communication of issues pertinent and relevant to HR Professionals.

 

We hope you enjoy the newsletter. It can only get better with your input and comments. If you have any articles for inclusion, comments or requests, please email them to Barry Lippold with the subject: "Resources Article" to: blippold@marcison.com.

 

 

 

 

Nevada's only Employee Services Management Association is hosting its annual Vendor Fair on Wednesday May 20, 2009 from 3:30pm to 6:30pm.


The Fair is taking place at the Cashman Center Stadium.

850 N. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas NV, 89101

 

 

Employee Services Management Association is dedicated to promoting employee services, discount programs, leisure activities and merchandise programs. This is why this Vendor Fair has Free Admission!

 

Visit several ESM Member booth displays including:

Best Western Stovall, My Car Lady, Premier Exhibitions, See’s Candies.
Coast to Coast and Prestige Travel, Madame Tussauds, Century 21 Solutions,
Costco, Universal Studios, Gameworks, Black Canyon River Adventures,
Grand Canyon Railway, Red Rock Western Jeep Tours, Colonial Life, Golden Promotions, Palm Springs Aerial Tram, Planet Hollywood, SNHRA, and more.

 

Enjoy great information on employee discount
programs by ESM Members, food, and prizes!


For all Human Resource Professionals
And ESM Association Members
Tell all your friends and co-workers.
Each company may bring up to 5 guests FREE.
RSVP’s are requested just go to

www.esmassociation.org (Vendor Fair page)
or e-mail your RSVP to
esmassociation@gmail.com

 

 

 

By: Patrick H. Hicks and Jeanine Navarro. Patrick H. Hicks is the Founding Shareholder of Littler Mendelson’s Las Vegas and Reno offices. He can be reached at phicks@littler.com. Jeanine Navarro is an Associate in Littler Mendelson’s Las Vegas office. She can be reached at jnavarro@littler.com.

 

EEOC Charges Soar as Economy Sours: What Can Employers Do?


It is certainly no secret that, during turbulent economic times, the number of discrimination claims tends to swell. Not only are more people out of work, but they are also financially motivated to explore their legal options.


Well, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Charge Statistics for 2008 are in, and the news - as predicted - is grim. Private sector discrimination filings with the EEOC for 2008 (95,402) surpassed 2007 (82,792) by a staggering 15% - the biggest jump in the federal agency's entire 44-year history.


Charges increased between 2007 and 2008 in every major protected category. Age discrimination claims vaulted by 28.7% to a record 24,582 - the largest increase in any category. Retaliation claims - at 32,690 - experienced the second largest increase.

 

What's more, charge filings for the current year are likely to increase as the 2008 numbers do not reflect the further deterioration in the economy during 2009. Typical legal fees associated with defending such claims can very easily be in the six figures.


So how do you stem the potential for discrimination and harassment charges against your organization? The following practical, proactive steps can be an organization's first - and best - line of defense.

 

Initiatives During a Recession: With EEO Training, You May Get Blood from a Stone

 

Given that budgets for training during economic downturns are limited, the concept of additional training may strike many as counter-intuitive or even unimaginable. Yet, focusing on compliance training can often stave off claims, which can actually save organizations money.


By now, there is a body of credible data to support a direct link between effective compliance training and a decline in claims. Sex-based claims used to be 65% of all harassment charges. Now they are only 43% of all harassment charges. More particularly, sexual harassment claims were 20% of the total charges in 1999 - one year after the Supreme Court created the affirmative defense for employers who were suddenly buoyed by the incentives associated with making sexual harassment training de rigueur. Sexual harassment claims now represent only 15% of all charges. Many scholars continue to regard sexual harassment training as a partial basis for the decline in claims in this area.


If employers would expand the scope of training beyond sexual harassment, could we look forward to a decline in charges in these areas as well? It is certainly a hypothesis worthy of consideration, especially if, in so doing, employers could minimize or even eliminate the costs associated with addressing harassment and discrimination claims. Beyond reducing claims, effective EEO training can help to defend against punitive damages claims, in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kolstad v. American Dental Association, 352 U.S. 598 (2001).


Accordingly, some level of commitment to EEO compliance training may prove to be an invaluable return on the investment.


Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures


Just as disgruntled employees or frustrated applicants are resorting to filing EEOC charges as a "last resort" of sorts, employers would do well to protect themselves proactively from such trends by engaging in compliance training as a first resort. This is not to suggest that training should be devised as some sort of "counter guerrilla" tactic in economic warfare. Recessionary times and constrained budgets aside, training simply makes good business sense. Consider a few of the reasons:

  • Dramatic changes in employment law landscape. In addition to the uptick in EEOC filings, employment law has had some other dramatic changes in this year alone.

  • Recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act expand employee protections and potentially increase the possibility of claims under each Act.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court has recently been active regarding retaliation claims and has expanded the scope of "protected activity." As a result, these secondary claims are becoming easier to prove for plaintiffs who may not even have a meritworthy underlying claim of harassment or discrimination.

  • The possibility of the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in some version (which would allow a union to be recognized without the customary secret ballot elections) is real. The economic environment is ripe for movements to "safeguard" employee interests. An employer who is responsive and proactive enjoys the best prospects of remaining union-free.

  • It is imperative for companies to know how to prevent, correct, and respond to issues pertaining to the above. With recent significant legal developments in all of these areas, it is more critical than ever that companies know how to avoid becoming a target through proper training. What's more, in the event of an adverse job action that occurs following a harassment claim, effective training can provide companies with a critical affirmative defense.


Train Inside the Budget; Think Outside the Box


Recession notwithstanding, it behooves the vigilant employer to consider doing the following:

  • Examine and, if necessary, align EEO policies to make sure they have the same specificity as your anti-harassment policies;

  • Get beyond sex. Make sure that supervisors receive proper training in areas where charges are increasing;

  • Make compliance with and modeling of equal employment opportunity policies part of supervisory evaluations.

  • Make sure to leverage technology. Different types of distance learning, such as elearning, webinars, and satellite can be an effective cost saving devise, particularly when the learners are geographically dispersed.

What is required to overcome the budget hurdles in order to carry out minimal initiatives like the above? In many cases, fiscal and logistical creativity. So, while companies may not be able afford to hire top legal guns to execute training outright, the following are among the alternatives to consider:

  • Retain employment counsel or your favorite training partners simply to auit current training programs of interest and partner with them on updating and "revamping" them - just enough to get you through the next year or two.

  • Scale back the breadth of training. In the event that company-wide training is simply not feasible for the short term, consider focusing on supervisory training - the people with the most influence on the front lines.

  • Bulk train. If there are several programs that need overhauling (i.e., conducting internal investigations, the ADAAA and reasonable accommodations, performance management, diversity, wage & hour issues, anti-harassment and discrimination, etc.), enquire about a "volume discount." If you don't ask, you will never know.

  • Look internally for expertise. Executives and managers, and those of your employees who are MBAs, CPAs, and attorneys, may be able to execute programs on leadership, accounting, business development, ethics and compliance issues, and finance, as well as job-specific courses. During a downturn, a review of the fundamentals helps to focus both the business and employees.

Now is the time to prepare your workforce so that you can boldly confront the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

 

 

 

Article courtesy of McQuire Woods, LLP; Article submitted by Mary Beth Hartleb, J.D., SPHR-CA PRISM HR Consulting & Insurance Services, LLC www.hrc-prism.com

 

Homeland Security Announces Shift in Worksite Immigration Enforcement to
Target Employers


On April 30, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a major shift in the worksite enforcement program conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): "Effective immediately, ICE will focus its resources in the worksite enforcement program on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly hire illegal workers in order to target the root cause of illegal immigration." Until recently, the program focused on unauthorized workers. The Department issued updated worksite enforcement guidance to ICE agents to implement this new strategy.

DHS's announcement explained:

  • ICE officers will obtain indictments, criminal arrest or search warrants, or a commitment from a U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) to prosecute the targeted employer before arresting employees for civil immigration violations at a worksite.

  • ICE will look for evidence of the mistreatment of workers, along with evidence of trafficking, smuggling, harboring, visa fraud, identification document fraud, money laundering, and other such criminal conduct.


Enforcement of immigration law has already been a high priority for the federal government in recent years. In 2008, a majority of all federal prosecutions (51 percent) were immigration cases. However, only 135 of the 6,000 arrests relating to worksite enforcement were of employers. The shift in strategy should result in a dramatic increase of criminal arrests and prosecutions of business owners, managers and supervisors.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is leading this shift. The Washington Post reported on March 29, 2009 that the Secretary delayed proposed immigration raids that would have focused on employees to allow for the change. Significantly, the recent DHS announcement ended with the following: "As a former border state Governor, Napolitano signed into law one of the toughest employer sanctions laws in the country in 2007 to target employers who knowingly hire illegal workers."

To guard against possible ICE investigations or other enforcement actions, employers should establish programs to ensure compliance with all immigration laws, including implementing practices and procedures for the full and proper completion and maintenance of I-9 forms.

 

 

 

Dana Hollern Territory Coordinator Las Vegas/Utah 702-468-7900
www.colonial-benefits.com

 

Q: How did you hear about SNHRA?

 

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is the corporate sponsor of SHRM’s Employee Benefits Survey. We have become supporters of SHRM on a national and regional level, as well as SNHRA locally.

 

Q: When did you join SNHRA?

 

I became a member and sponsor of SNHRA last year. Participating at SNHRA regular monthly meetings, sponsoring a meeting, becoming a website sponsor, participating at the vendor fair and participating at the state conference in Reno.

 

Q: Why did you decide to sponsor SNHRA (or its events)?

 

First of all, at Colonial Life, HR managers are a key audience for us. I saw this as an opportunity to partner with an organization that supports their efforts as much as we do. SNHRA is a great organization, and it has really made me appreciate even more what HR managers have to go through on a daily basis.

 

Q: Has sponsorship with SNHRA improved your job or your business?

 

Definitely! I have met some wonderful people through SNHRA — HR managers and other vendors. I value my relationship with SNHRA and its members. It has not only been a way for me to network but also a way to get the word out. So when HR managers think of “voluntary benefits” along with a company they can trust and rely on to deliver valuable benefits, benefits communication, enrollment services and  customer service on the back-end, I hope they’ll think of me and Colonial Life.

 

Q: What is a brief bio about your company (when established, type of business, marketplace, size, etc.)?

 

Colonial Life was established in 1939. We pioneered the concept of providing benefits at the worksite through payroll deduction. Over the years, Colonial Life has evolved and become one of the leading voluntary benefits providers in the industry — receiving numerous awards and recognition from HR managers and brokers in the benefits community. In addition, Colonial Life received recognition for our benefits communication and enrollment services and was chosen by Microsoft in a case study for our enrollment platform

 

Q: What is your company's motto or mission statement?

 

Mission Statement: Colonial Life is committed to helping working Americans understand and appreciate the benefits available to them through the workplace and select the benefits they need to protect their families and lifestyles.

 

Q: What is your role in your company/business?

 

I have been with Colonial Life for about 12 years. Glenn Hollern, my husband, who is also the Territory Manager over Las Vegas/Utah has been with Colonial for 27 years! Our role is primarily to work with HR managers to help design a benefits program that fits with your current benefits package without duplicating, replacing or changing a thing.

 

Q: What are the most challenging aspects of your job or your company/business?

 

It’s never a dull moment at Colonial Life. I love everything about what I do and the value that Colonial Life brings to the table…even when I’m having a bad day.

 

Q: What products or services do you offer to SNHRA members?

  • Products: Voluntary benefits/supplemental insurance (individual/group) including: disability, accident, cancer, critical illness, life, hospital confinement indemnity insurance.

  • Plan options to protect employees and their family members. Stand-alone policies available for spouse and dependent children. Our products do not coordinate with other insurances. They are paid directly to the employee, unless specified otherwise. Most plans are portable at the same premium. Most plans can be pre-taxed helping to reduce payroll taxes for the employee and company.

  • Services: Benefits Communication & Enrollment Services: Our agents are “educators”. We can communicate and enroll just about anything from voluntary benefits to core benefits such as health, dental, vision, etc. We can help HR managers streamline the enrollment process while educating employees on their benefits and enrolling them in their benefits. Employees walk away from the group and individual enrollments understanding and appreciating their benefits and the costs their employer pays for those benefits. HR managers like how effective benefits communication and education can help reduce the concerns and questions employees have related to their benefits. Although other companies charge for these types of services, our services are at no direct cost to the company.

 

Q: If you offer discounts, please describe the offer(s) here:

  • Free Prescription Drug Discount Card — also good for Lasik eye surgery and hearing services. At time of enrollment, employees will receive a free prescription drug discount card whether they participate or choose not to participate.

  • Free Benefits communication and enrollment services. Colonial Life can help streamline the enrollment process while educating employees on their benefits choices.

  • Free Benefits Statements, paycheck illustration, enrollment election form. These are forms provided during the enrollment process and given to each employee. Employees walk away understanding their benefits and how their deductions and pre-taxing affect their paycheck.

  • Free Web-based administration through “ColonialConnect”. Plan administrators receive free access to online administration services. This helps eliminate errors in billing and makes doing business with Colonial Life easy!

  • Free CCH HRAnswersNow. Part of “ColonialConnect”. This free service helps HR managers get information on HR-related issues and get the answers they need at their fingertips.

 

 

Article submitted by Howard G. Robbins, Financial Advisor of Ameriprise Financial, Article prepared by Forefield Inc. Copyright © 2009 Forefield Inc.

 

Coping with Unemployment

 

In these tough economic times, our employees, friends and neighbors are losing their jobs on a daily basis. As HR professionals, we are caught in the middle of it all, as we are often the ones preparing or even handing out the pink slips. This article was selected to help those who have lost their jobs cope with their unfortunate circumstances...


What is coping with unemployment?
Coping with unemployment means breaking away from the past and facing your future. It means dealing with the emotional, financial, and professional challenges unemployment can bring. Although this process can be painful, facing unemployment with a plan will help make coping with it easier. Dealing with your emotions


When you lose your job
Losing your job is an emotional experience--whether you are laid off or fired, whether you quit or retire. Your feelings of self-worth are tied more closely to your job than you realize. Although you're certainly entitled to relax awhile after your job ends, it's easy to let a few days of sleeping late, watching television, and playing golf turn into a few months of inactivity. Be careful not to use your need to relax as an excuse to avoid facing your future. The more time that passes, the more likely you'll feel anxious and depressed about your future. Here are three tips on what you can do to keep yourself moving:

  • Pretend that you're still working. You've probably heard the adage that finding a job is a full-time job. Well, it's usually true. So why not pretend that you're still working? You don't have to get dressed up for this job, but at least get out of bed at the same time, make yourself a cup of coffee, and get going. Stop for lunch and then work again until late afternoon. Keep moving, and you'll accomplish your goal of finding a new job with a lot less anxiety.

  • Set daily and weekly goals.

  • Get a calendar and write down what you want to accomplish each day for one week. Be specific and reasonable. Don't write "call future employers " Instead, write "call the human resource departments at five publishing companies." Then, write down what your weekly goal will be. You might write "compile a list of five potential employers and send resumes to them." Setting goals will help you feel in control of your fate and will ultimately help you get a job.

  • Reward yourself. Looking for a job is tough, so after a long, hard day of job hunting, reward yourself. For instance, promise yourself in the morning that if you accomplish everything on your list by three o'clock, you can go to the matinee of the movie you've been wanting to see.

Planning a financial strategy


When you lose your job
, you may be able to rely on savings or, in some cases, unemployment compensation to replace some of your lost income. However, if you don't have much money saved or are worried about how to survive financially, you should come up with a financial plan for unemployment. You should plan a financial strategy that will keep you afloat for six months, if necessary. Hopefully, you won't be unemployed that long but if you are, you'll be prepared. Make a list of ways you can save money and cut expenses and prepare a bare-bones budget that shows the least amount of money you can live on during your period of unemployment. Then, prepare a six-month financial plan that details to the extent possible how you plan to survive financially while you're unemployed.

 

Planning for life after your current job ends


Find out what unemployment compensation you may receive
If you are being terminated for any reason, find out if you will receive severance pay and what unemployment benefits you may receive. You're likely to receive severance pay if you are laid off, but severance pay is usually based on the number of years you've been with the company. If you are laid off or fired, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation from your state. Your employer can give you the details. You should also find out when you will receive your final paycheck and if you are eligible for compensation for vacation or sick days you accumulated but never took. Example(s): When Alice was laid off from her job as executive housekeeper, her employer gave her a final paycheck consisting of her last two weeks of salary and ten days' worth of pay for the vacation time she had accumulated but never took. She also received severance pay equal to one month's salary. In addition, her employer gave her the address and phone number of the nearest unemployment office, as well as information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in her state.

Find out about continuing your medical benefits through COBRA
If you work for a company with more than 20 employees, your employer must notify both you and your spouse (if any) via first class mail that you have the right to continue your group health insurance coverage after your employment has been terminated (unless it ended because of gross misconduct). Under COBRA, you can continue your benefits up to 18 months, and your spouse and dependent children may be covered up to 36 months. However, you'll probably have to pay the full premium cost plus a small administrative fee--your employer won't contribute anything. If you work for a company that has fewer than 20 employees, you'll have to check your state's laws to see if you can continue coverage. Some states have passed legislation that gives employees of small employers the right to continue their health care coverage for a certain period of time. Tip:  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides that, for involuntary terminations that occur on or after September 1, 2008 and before January 1, 2010, assistance-eligible individuals will only need to pay 35 percent of COBRA premiums for a period of up to nine months. The remaining 65 percent of COBRA premiums will be subsidized. However, this premium subsidy may need to be repaid in some cases.

Determine how you will handle your retirement account or pension plan funds
If you will receive a lump-sum pension plan or savings plan distribution, decide where you want that money to go. It's easiest if you authorize your employer to transfer funds directly from your retirement plan to another retirement plan you have set up elsewhere. Although you may be tempted to withdraw money from your retirement account to provide much-needed income, do so only if this is your only option.


Find out whether your employer-sponsored group disability or life insurance policy is convertible or portable When you lose your job, you may also lose your disability or life insurance coverage. Although disability insurance is rarely portable or convertible (you can't take it with you or convert it to an individual policy), your group life insurance policy may be.


Ask how the company handles inquiries about your employment Afraid of being sued by vengeful ex-employees, many companies today will give only limited information about your employment. A few companies may be willing to give some information about the quality of your work, but, in general, companies may answer only factual questions such as your dates of employment. If you were fired, you may be happy if your company has a strict employment inquiry policy. However, if you quit or were laid off, you may wish that your employer would give out more positive information as well.


Line up references If possible, you should line up one or more people who are willing to give you a good professional reference. Those you choose should be personally familiar with your work and hold positions in the company higher than your own. However, before you list any former supervisors as references, check with them; some companies forbid department managers or supervisors to give out information about former employees. Many individuals, however, will give out information anyway, but check with them first. You don't want to be surprised later if someone you list as a reference refuses to talk to your potential employer.

 

Finding a new job


Setting realistic expectations
It may take you a lot longer to find a job than you think. You may have to update your resume, research job openings, and interview more than once with a potential employer. You should expect the job hunt to last at least six weeks and be prepared for it to last at least six months, especially in a tight job market (one rule of thumb is to expect it to last one month for every $10,000 of compensation). You may also have to decide whether you're willing to move to a different area if you can't find a job locally.


Setting up a support network Networking can mean either finding others who can support you emotionally when you're unemployed or finding individuals and printed materials that can help you find a new job. You can find emotional support through friends, relatives, job-hunters' support groups, or Internet sites. In addition, many resources are available to help you find a new job. You can find numerous books and newspapers at your local bookstore or library that will help you determine your career goals, prepare a resume, and research companies in your area. You can talk to professional job counselors, headhunters, temporary agencies, or image counselors (you may have to pay them a fee, in some cases) who can help you find job openings or line up interviews. You can even find jobs through the Internet or through your friends and family.

 

Starting your own business Many people who have lost their jobs to company downsizing decide to start their own businesses and, after years of working for someone else, really enjoy being in charge of their own company. If you are tempted to start your own business, be aware that most new businesses fail quickly, often due to the lack of cash flow and thorough planning.

 

 

 


More Resume Bloopers


These are taken from real resumes and cover letters and were printed in Fortune Magazine (Misspellings are actual):


1. I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience.

2. I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreadsheet progroms.

3. Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

4. Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.

5. Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

6. Its best for employers that I not work with people.

7. Lets meet, so you can ooh and aah over my experience.

8. You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time.

9. Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.

10. I was working for my mom until she decided to move.

11. Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

12. Marital status: single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No Commitments.

13. I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.

14. I am loyal to my employer at all costs... Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail.

15. I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing.

16. My goal is to be a meteorologist. But since I possess no training in meterology, I suppose I should try stock brokerage.

17. I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.

18. As indicted, I have over five years of analyzing investments.

19. Personal interests: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far.

20. Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.

21. Note: Please don't miscontrue my 14 jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job.

22. Marital status: often. Children: various.

23. Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 a.m. every morning. Could not work under those conditions.

24. The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.

25. Finished eighth in my class of ten.

26. References: None. I've left a path of destruction behind me.

 

 

 

Courtesy of http://www.hr.com

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

We hope that all of our Members and Friends find the articles contained within R E S O U R C E S  useful in your HR environment.
Many thanks to all of you who responded to our requests
for articles and research for this newsletter.

If you have anything you wish to contribute to the next issue, please do not hesitate to email Barry Lippold at blippold@marcison.com.

 

 

 

Contact Barry Lippold at 702-281-6528 for pricing and availability
to sponsor future R E S O U R C E S editions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Newsletter: 2009 Edition5